New watches are being made every day, so it's no surprise that some watches are rarer than others. Such limited availability can be very costly; Vintage watch collections, for example, are quicky becoming more sought after with the rarest timepieces fetching a small fortune at auction.
We’ve rounded up five of the rarest watches we would absolutely love to have the pleasure of owning.
Rolex 4133 ‘Split-Seconds’
This Rolex is one of the rarest timepieces we’ve seen; only 12 of this chronograph were originally made.
The Rolex 4133 got its nickname from the button on its crown, which makes it the only split second chronograph to be built by Rolex.
Made in limited numbers, with one piece leaving the Rolex manufacturer back in 1942, this watch is sure enough one of the most desirable for vintage collectors, selling for $1.17 million at auction in 2011.
Patek Philippe 3974
This watch is a favourite with collectors due to it being one of the most complicated timepieces to exists.
The 3974 features a rare and important platinum automatic perpetual calendar and a moon phase display. Ahead of its time, the Patek Philippe featured a leap-year indicator at 3 o’clock - impressive considering it was produced in 1989! A vintage watch collectors’ dream.
Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 In Steel
In 1941 Patek Philippe introduced one of the most revolutionary and legendary collectors’ watches in the world.
Holding the record for the most expensive watch sold at auction, the 1518 sold for a whopping $11 million, and is one of only four to exist. It was made exclusively for the Italian market and was the world's first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch to ever be manufactured.
Bao Dai Rolex Ref. 6062
Selling for £4,126,751.38 in May 2017 at the Geneva Watch Auction, this characteristic yellow gold automatic triple calendar wristwatch, became the most expensive Rolex to sell at auction.
This watch became extremely historically important when the Last Emperor of Vietnam requested the rarest and most precious Rolex ever made. The timepiece now shares its name with Bao Dai.
“It's imperial provenance, rarity and superb condition make the "Bao Dai" one of the most valuable timepieces ever produced regardless of the brand.”
Vacheron Constantin Chronometre Royal Ref. 4907
Believed to be one of the rarest and most exceptional examples of a vintage watch Chronometer Royal wristwatch seen, needless to say it fetched £101,824 at auction.
It’s unknown how many of the 4907 actually were made, as only one model has ever been seen at auction, so if others exist, their whereabouts are unknown.
Protecting your collection
When starting a vintage watch collection, it is vital you have somewhere safe to store them. To The Hour Peli™ watch cases are ideal for protecting your collection.
These virtually indestructible cases are ideal for collectors who frequently attend watch meets, or commute to and from watch auctions and other events.
With three ranges to choose from, you are guaranteed to find a watch case to suit your collection size.